An Interview With Eating Disorder Writer & Speaker: Lindsey Hall (@lindseyhallwrites)
Could you introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Lindsey Hall, the author behind the eating disorder recovery blog “I Haven’t Shaved in Six Weeks“. I’m 30 years old, living in Boulder Colorado, and I’ve been in recovery from the “eating disorder cycle” (I like to say) for five years, I live in the “flexible okay” recovery mentality where sometimes my recovery feels stronger than others – and I learn how to live in spite of it.
What inspired you to start writing?
Love this question. Writing has always been my outlet in this life. I’ve written since I was a little girl writing 5-page short stories. It’s my “thing”- you know what I mean? It’s what motivates me and pushes me and it’s how I help to make sense of this existence.
When I started my blog, it was after a 6 week stint in treatment for the eating disorder. Prior to going, I obviously had MANY questions. I’d never been in treatment & didn’t know what to expect:
What would the food be like? the women? (mine was an all women facility). What was the day-to-day like in treatment? I couldn’t find anything online except clinical blog posts & news articles. I wanted the nitty gritty. So, I decided to write it myself in the form of 9 short stories called Truth 1, 2, 3, etc. From there, a whole world opened up for me.
What motivated you to want to recover and try to move away from your eating disorder?
A lot of reasons; mostly I was tired of the way I was living and I knew there had to be something else better. At some point, you just get tired of the way you live, and I knew life could be different. I was willing to do anything, including submitting to treatment, to try.
Do you think that full recovery from anorexia is possible?
I think anorexia is hard to fully recover from without little moments of waver because unlike drugs and alcohol, you can’t abstain from eating, so at some point in some time, there will be moments you aren’t eating as well or this or that.
I think you can recover from the obsession, yes. But I think the side effects of anorexia are that you have moments throughout your life where you go to bat with the urges.
What do you think is the biggest misconception surrounding eating disorders that we need to combat?
I still think the misconception that an eating disorder is a vanity sickness is strong. There is so much research being done on the brain and eating disorders and I want eating disorders to be treated in the same light that the opioid epidemic is, with the acknowledgement that eating disorders change the brain chemistry.
Have you got any advise you’d give to anyone concerned about themselves or a friend/relative?
If you’re concerned about yourself: you need to value that. Tell someone you trust, who won’t dismiss it. Do some reading. Follow people who have been through this.
If you’re concerned about a friend: I think there’s a way of asking without directly saying ‘are you struggling with eating?’
Ask “are you doing okay. Are you feeling okay? I’m noticing that you may need someone to talk to, so please know I’m here.”
A lot of people think that having anorexia is all about body image, what is your opinion on this? Do you think it goes deeper than that?
Mentioned this a bit above, but yes. Maybe in the beginning it’s rooted in diet industry & body image brainwashing, but anorexia becomes more than that. It changes the brain chemistry, it lights up your reward center as a means of protecting yourself when restricting. It’s a sickness, and it takes a long time to unlearn. But, I do think it’s possible to.